Our Responsibility

Teachers have a huge role and responsibility to standing up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. Teachers have the job and role of educating and teaching students their rights and social justice. If educators in schools aren’t teaching this then where will students learn this? Teachers also have the responsibility of modeling behaviors that stand up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. Students watch and follow teachers all day. We are their role models. If we don’t stand up and we don’t model this then students will not. Teachers have the ability to teach students new views and give them encouragement. As teachers we know are students the best and we can teach this matter in away that wont be harmful and will give them a new look on this issue in our society. “The primary goal of SJE is to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to confront social inequality in society and promote equity within their sphere of influence (Adams, 2010)” (Storms,2013,31). When teaching this material to students it important we aren’t bias and we teach them about it and the skills needed. We need to educate our students and let them decide what they want to do with the learned material. We want to encourage them to stand up against social justice but we have to give them all the sides and material.

When teaching this material teachers need to be aware of the different students background in the classroom as we don’t want to offend anyone. It’s also important that all grade level and educators are teaching this material and know and understand the material. If educators start teaching this at a young age all the way through it will stick and students will realize the importance. Teachers have a responsibility of staying up to date with the content and the subject. “Teachers must be educated to understand their responsibilities regarding the content of their instruction and the results they are to achieve for all the students they teach. To do this, teachers must know and be able to work effectively with state standards and assessments (Ainsworth, 2003a, 2003b; Reeves, 2002a, 2002b, 2002c)” (Poplin, 2005,31).We need to educate our students on social justice and standing up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. This is not any easy subject to teach and it will take time to master but it is important that educators are doing something in the classroom to educate the students on this matter.

Resources:

Poplin, M., & Rivera, J. (2005). Merging Social Justice and Accountability: Educating                         Qualified and Effective Teachers. Theory Into Practice, 44(1), 27                                                 37 doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4401_5

Storms, S. B. (2013). Preparing Teachers for Social Justice Advocacy. Multicultural                             Education, 20(2), 33-39.

9 thoughts on “Our Responsibility”

  1. SJones62- your opening statement that teachers should be the role models- SPOT ON. I see so many teachers everyday that could not care less how they behave themselves as long as they’re teaching the curriculum. Then they wonder why their students are rude to each other! If we are not the ones to show them how to act, then who will? Yes, they have families at home that might teach them the same things, but we know there are families out there who are prejudice towards anyone who does not look like them. Our job as educators is to break that cycle of generational prejudice and injustice, and teach acceptance and love!

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    1. Thank you for your response! I see that all the time in my school. Or teachers wont listen to students and ignore them but the students do it back and the teacher gets so upset! We have to show them the proper way! if they see us doing something then they think it’s okay. Also its crazy how much students see and pick up. We all need to work together as educators have a plan and break the cycle.

      Shelby

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  2. I totally agree with your statement, “If educators in schools aren’t teaching this then where will students learn this?” Unfortunately, this is the reality teachers are facing as parents either do not think they are prejudice and wouldn’t think that their child could form these biases, or they are unaware of how big of a topic Human Rights Education needs to be. While we should be teaching our students about the different types of oppression and prejudice people face everyday, I also think we need to open these conversations up to parents and educate them about how they can have the same conversations with their child at home. I do believe that these conversations would have even more of an impact on students if the information came from their parents or caregivers as well.

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  3. There couldn’t be anything more true than the statement “teachers are role models.” It’s one of the biggest reasons why I became a teacher. I’ve always viewed my own teachers as role models. I saw how they impacted their students and the hard work they put in, and I aspired to be just like that. So it would only make sense that as educators, being a role model is a crucial part to teaching social justice. If students see you standing up for what is right and protecting those who experience injustices, they will be more apt to do the same. We model how to solve equations and write essays, so why not also model how to fight for what is right.

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  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your response, especially when you said, “As teachers we know our students the best and we can teach this matter in a way that won’t be harmful and will give them a new look on this issue in our society.” This is an important mindset to have when addressing these issues in the classroom. We do not, and should not, impose our personal beliefs onto our students. Instead, we should present them with information and hope that it gives them a new perspective and way of looking at the world around them. By presenting the information in this way we are, “prepar[ing] students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to confront social inequality in the society and promote equity within their sphere of influence” (Storms, 2013, p. 33). The reality is, we can only give students the information and hope that they make their own decisions after careful consideration. With that in mind, I still believe, as you do, that “We want to encourage them to stand up against social justice but we have to give them all the sides and material.” Therefore, we must be models of this kind of behavior if we want to be a force for positive change in our schools and society as a whole.

    References
    Storms, S. B. (2013). Preparing Teachers for Social Justice Advocacy. Multicultural Education,
    20(2), 33-39.

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  5. I really like how you mention the impact that teachers can have on students as students are modeling their teachers. A great resource to use for finding lessons that are at different developmental ages is the teaching tolerance website. (https://www.tolerance.org/)

    What I love most about this website is that each lesson has multiple components meant for students at different age or developmental levels. Therefore you can still have conversations about gender stereotypes or any topic that you wish but at a developmentally appropriate level.

    -Natalie

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  6. The challenges in carrying out our responsibilities as teachers to integrate social justice is that there are still so many parents or students from families who believe and instill a sense of entitlement into their children. Or are so disconnected from what other people’s realities are and how vastly different they are from their own. I think, because of this, it’s even more so imperative that we are strategic in our teaching as well as creative and immersive in our approach so students, themselves, understand why social justice is necessary and relevant, especially in the world we live in today.

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  7. This post was great in explaining the teachers role and responsibility to teach the students about social justice and standing up for others. One great line from this post is, “If educators in schools aren’t teaching this then where will the students learn this? I enjoy this quote so much because I believe it is such a true statement. There are so many times that a student says something or acts inappropriately and we have to think as teacher s where did they learn this horrible behavior from. The reality of it is that it probably came from home. This is why teachers need to be such advocates for social justice because it may truly be the only place that students hear these ideas of standing up against exclusion, prejudice, and injustice.

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  8. You brought up great points about how teachers should have a prior background knowledge on their students and incorporate those needs into the classroom. I also agree that we shouldn’t bring our own biases and beliefs into the classroom in a negative effecting way, everyone has morals but how to express those is another thing. Great work!

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